As we launch into festive season, there are a million things to think about: Christmas lists, order and prep food, when to decorate, who to invite (and who to avoid). As well as thinking about what everyone else wants or needs to make their festive season complete, if you are like millions of other women, you are probably realising that you have just weeks to lose the weight that you have been trying to lose for months – or even years.
The punishing cycle of diet, eat, diet, is demoralising enough, but during the festive season it is punctuated by a whole extra host of stresses, not to mention the pressure to produce delicious food for everyone else, which you either feel guilty for eating, don’t eat at all, or enjoy in the moment and regret for the next week.
This period can be especially challenging if you have been successfully losing weight for a little while or if you, like many others, are at the very upper limit of your weight range and can’t bear the thought of tight clothes and terrible self-esteem. There are plenty of options from abstaining from food, to taking weight loss supplements such as orlistat capsules. The trick is, to find an option that works for you – and stick to it.
Fight Festive Fat Anxiety
Stay away from the food
Keeping away from the food (and drink) is the only way that you can ensure you don’t pile on the pounds this festive season. However, it is also a sure-fire way of guaranteeing that you will be miserable, hungry, and worn out because you may not be indulging in delicious food and drink, but the chances are that you are doing your best to make sure that everyone else is.
TIP: if you are determined to stick to your diet plan, find some healthy alternatives to festive favourites, such as replacing crisps and sour cream dip with crudites and a homemade, fat free alternative. Switch out your glass of mulled cider for spirits with a low sugar mixer.
Just forget about it and enjoy yourself
If the only way for you to have festive fun is to eat that mince pie washed down with a large glass of Irish cream or sweet mulled cider, then go for it! Provided that eating and drinking what you want won’t impact on your long-term health, there is no harm in indulging a little, as long as you know when to stop.
There is an element of psychology in this approach: knowing that you can eat something if you want it can often make you want it less. Have you ever noticed that when you are on a diet you will obsess about biscuits (or crisps, or cheese), but when you are not dieting, you think about them a lot less? If you have a tendency to binge, complete abstinence can start off your seesaw of starve/binge, so by allowing yourself a little bit of slack, you may well consume fewer calories.
TIP: If you are determined to have fun and enjoy yourself, and fun involves eating what you want, when you want, then try the game of halves. You can eat whatever you want, but half the amount that you would normally have. Want seconds? No problem. But take half. This is a great compromise between feasting and “being good”.
Put the leg work in early
Can’t bear to go without fat, carbs or booze in December? Hit it hard in November instead. Push yourself hard in the weeks before Christmas so that you know you have some leeway to gain weight if you must. The added advantage of this tactic is that if you lose a few pounds now, you will be less likely to want to put your hard work to waste when party season arrives, so will probably find it easier to be more moderate with the food and drink. Remember to be realistic about your targets; this is more about short term weight loss than a long-term lifestyle change (so think pounds rather than stone).
TIP: Most of us have that party top or dress that we have wanted to get into for a while, but which is just a tiny bit too tight. Make this your target and set a date that you will wear it so you have something to work towards.
Give yourself a little support
Weight fluctuation can be a stressful business and the sad fact is that for many people, events that should be celebrations are filled with a sense of anxiety, or even dread. If you are already dreading the inevitable annual weight gain, then it can help if you take control now. A weight loss supplement, such as Orlistat, helps you to maintain or lose weight by preventing your body from absorbing all of the fat that you consume. Orlistat is the active ingredient in a range of products, some of which are only available by prescription, and some which are weaker, so can be bought over the counter.
Although taking weight loss supplements is not a suitable long-term solution, when taken in conjunction with a calorie-controlled diet, studies show that orlistat can help you to lose 50% more weight than dieting by itself. This means that it can help boost your weight loss in the run up and help to reduce your weight gain during the festive period. (watch out for that pesky psychology though, it can be tempting to rationalise eating 25% more as the fat won’t be stored). If you have a BMI of over 30, or over 28 with associated risk factors, you could be entitled to Orlistat on prescription. No need to visit your GP; a registered online pharmacy can approve your order, issue a prescription, and have your tablets with you the next day.
TIP: give your weight loss a little pre-Christmas boost by taking weight loss supplements for a few weeks in the run up. This will help you to feel fabulous during the festive season, and will give you a bit of buffer space to gain weight during.
Whether you are a lifelong yoyo dieter or you just need to get control, the most important thing is that you prioritise your mental and physical health. It is fine to put in a little bit of extra effort to mitigate the inevitable Christmas weight gain, or to help you to feel great for a special event. But it is even better if you can get yourself into a position where you have complete control over your diet and lifestyle, so that you are at peace with your choices. Go for a walk after meals is a great place to start, it will allow you to get some gentle exercise in and stop the after dinner picking trap.
Above all else, try to enjoy yourself and make space for you.